In the midst of an annual utility conference today in eastern Cleveland, Representative Dennis Kucinich joined students from across the state and their allies to urge the utility not to build a proposed dirty coal-fired power plant in Southern Ohio. Kucinich said the issue is “important enough to come here this morning to let you know that I’m not just concerned but that I’m lending my voice to support these efforts.” He added, “this is something worth organizing over and fighting for.”
American Municipal Power (AMP) is hosting the 4-day conference, where its power plant committee may decide whether or not to start construction of the plant. The Ohio Student Environmental Coalition (OSEC) brought attention to the gathering by holding a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel, where AMP’s conference is being held all this week.
If built, Cleveland Public Power would be one of the largest customers of the 1,000 Megawatt, $3.9 billion dirty coal-fired power plant. Nachy Kanfer from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Ohio, said “AMP’s members need to get together and cancel this project before their ratepayers pay the price. Trends in the energy market mean that AMP’s coal proposal is a bad financial deal for its customers.” Rep. Kucinich added, “if we don’t address this on the local level then all over the world we’re sending a message that Ohio is going backwards”.
Clay Graham, a junior at Hiram College and member of OSEC, spoke about health impacts in the area near the coal plant, saying “it’s ironic that AMP is meeting in the Cleveland Clinic when Meigs County has few hospitals, the lowest life expectancy in the state, and where 18.6% of children don’t have health insurance”.
Kristen Arnold, an OSU sophomore and OSEC member, said “This is the latest action in an ongoing campaign by young people across the state to oppose the proposed coal plant, in favor of a clean energy economy.” OSEC is hosting a statewide conference for several hundred students called Power Shift Ohio, which will take place November 6-8 at Oberlin College, just west of Cleveland.